The US is to close its monitoring unit in the UK, marking the end of nearly 75 years of side-by-side collaboration with the BBC’s open-source intelligence division at Caversham Park. The Open Source Enterprise, a division of the US’s Central Intelligence Agency, has been run out of the Berkshire stately home since 1943. US officials have worked closely with their British counterparts to monitor foreign TV and radio broadcasts, as well as online information.
ROBERT STEELE: The Open Source Enterprise (previously the Open Source Center) has never been a serious capability. Rooted in what was once a very fine Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), it was handicapped from the beginning by the insistence of the Clandestine Service that it focus only on passive media monitoring and not develop networks of overt human sources which is precisely where I and all the other open source pioneers knew we needed to go. Worse, the military services and the combat commands that did have moderately promising networks of overt human source being cultivated by Civil Affairs (CA), Foreign Area Officers (FAO) and others were all shut down and no one in the military had the integrity to tell CIA to piss off.
DIA, which considered me as the DISL for HUMINT in 2010, was slammed back into a small box because it director at the time — and his successor — did not have the knowledge or the spine to take on CIA.
We are one year away from the 30-year anniversary of my starting the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) revolution. A series of CIA directors has failed to get a grip on the essence of CIA, which could be saved but only with very firm leadership unwilling to tolerate any more bullshit for each of the CIA directorates that are largely fluff.
There will be a global open source network eventually. We can only weep at the cost to America and the world of a secret intelligence community so lacking in integrity that it is also completely lacking in intelligence.